My Erasmus Adventures

Ola's internship in Denmark
by Emilia Galas,

International Business BA student

Hello Everyone! It’s time for a new story about an Erasmus experience! Ola will tell us about her adventures in Denmark 🙂

 Hey Ola! Please tell us something about yourself 🙂

 My name is Ola Śledziewska. I am 22 years old and I come from Poland. I am currently on the 4th year of my medical studies. I am a big fan of Scandinavia and I love traveling. I am a book-worm and an animal lover. In the summer days you can easily find me on my roller-skates. 🙂 

 Could you tell me what place you decided to choose as your Erasmus destination? What was your first feeling when you arrived to there?

 I chose Aarhus in Denmark as my Erasmus destination. When I first arrived there, I was full of excitement and curiosity. I did not do too much research on the city itself, so I did not have any high expectations towards it. But little did I know, it turned out to be a preeminent place. I was excited about trying the danish cuisine and getting to know the secrets of danish hygge. 

 Why did you decide to choose this place as your Erasmus destination?

 I knew I wanted to choose a Scandinavian country. But what convinced me to make my final decision, was that Aarhus University Hospital is one of the best hospitals in Europe. 

 Tell me a little bit more about the application process. Is it hard? Do you have any suggestions to students who want to take part in Erasmus+ internship program as well? Was it hard to find this internship? How did you find it?

 Since I was the first person from my faculty to go there, I had to do some research on my own. I asked people from other medical universities who have previously been on an Erasmus medical internship and I got a lot of helpful advices from them. The recruitment process differentiates between countries (sometimes even hospitals!) and I would recommend to find detailed information about the country or hospital that you are currently interested in visiting. 

In Denmark, the procedure of finding a place for the internships focuses on the direct contact with the department that you wish to visit. You can easily find the proper contact information at the hospital’s website. If you get the permission for the internship, the procedure is pretty standard. 

You can always contact your Erasmus+ program coordinator of your faculty or the main Erasmus office at your university in order to get more detailed information about further required procedures.

 How about your internship? What did you do? What were your tasks?  

 I spent 2 months in Aarhus University Hospital’s ophthalmology department. Each day I followed a doctor I was assigned to and tried different ophthalmology fields. I had the opportunity to practice both medical procedures and ophthalmology examination, as well as soft skills that can contribute to becoming a professional worker in the future. I had a chance to develop my scientific work. I have also presented a case report on a patient with uveal melanoma. 

 Did you think long time whether you should do it? What ultimately convinced you? 

 Absolutely not. I never had any doubts. When I found out there was a chance for me to take part in the program, I was immediately in. But it is just the way I am. 🙂

 What do you like the most about this place? 

 People! Really kind, helpful and sweet. Everyone smiles at each other on the streets. 

The art of hygge. Hygge is a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. After spending some time there, I can tell that Danes have their lives really well-balanced. The amount of stress is almost non-existent and they find time for everything. Work-life balance is really important for Danes. 

But what stood out for me the most was different healthcare organization and standards for medical professions. The time for one patient is longer than in Poland. Also the amount of patients seen by a doctor during the day is much lower. There are many more doctors and nurses and the healthcare is just better equipped and financed. Doctors in Denmark usually don’t work more than 37 hours per week, actually some of them do not work full-time. They also work in a no-fault system, so you don’t really hear any stories from them about being sued, unlike Polish doctors. As in their everyday life, there is time to grab a coffee and have a little fika or go and get a lunch. The patients are nicer and seem to understand that doctors are not robots.  It is not an unusual thing for a doctor to check the information in the book or computer during the visit and it is not seen as a faux-pas.  

 What surprised you the most when you started to live there?

 Danish weather… You really need to be prepared for everything. 

 What do you recommend to do in Aarhus? How can you spend your free time there? Did you visit any other places in Denmark?

 My favourite place during my stay there was Marselisborg’s Deer park. Make sure you are well equipped in carrots and apples when going there.

Other places I would recommend to get familiar with: AROS – modern art museum, DOKK1, beaches, botanical garden, university park and the infinity bridge. 

Activities: Bicycling! There are great bike paths and the whole city is well communicated for bicycles. 

Food/ Coffee: la cabra coffee and grød 

I had a chance spend a weekend in Copenhagen. I absolutely fell in love with the capital of Denmark. I highly recommend visiting the Medical Museum there. I also had a ferry trip with friends to Samsø- fully ecological danish island. 

 How about the transport? Is it hard to find buses / trains / flights to other places? Is it expensive/cheap?

 There are a lot of options for public transport. You can easily go to different cities by buses or trains. A single ticket to Copenhagen by train is however about 350 PLN, so it’s not a cheap business, but sometimes you can find more affordable plane tickets (if you are lucky enough) :). 

 Can you describe the local people? What are they like?

 Absolutely lovely people! Kind, helpful, open-minded and tolerant. 

 Is it difficult to communicate with them in English? Do they know English or foreigners should know at least a little bit of Danish?

 I think it would be hard to find a dane who doesn’t speak English. Even older people can easily communicate in English, so there is no need to know danish if you plan to go there for a short period of time. However, they are really happy when you can say something in danish. 🙂 

 Is it an expensive country?  

 Yes, it is very expensive if you compare it with polish prices you are used to. 

 Are there any disadvantages of choosing Aarhus as your Erasmus+ internship destination? 

 I couldn’t find any :). The prices could be lower though! 

 Your favourite Danish food! What can you recommend to non-Danish people?

 Great sweet pastry products! Kanelsnurre is my favorite. 

And open sandwiches – smørrebrød. 

 Why do you think it’s a good idea to study/work in a different country? Would you recommend to others to take part in Erasmus+ program?

 Of course! It is a great opportunity to see how it feels to live somewhere else and see other nation’s habits. 

You can implement some of those habits (if you like them) into your daily life or work space. 

You can also practice your language skills and in case of medical internships- your medical skills too.  

 Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us! 🙂